Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teen Read Week 2010

October is a busy month in the library world.  I am appropriately thankful in November that the pace has somewhat slowed.  Nancy Price at Harmony Middle has helped me fill my little nerd notebook I keep in my purse with fun library ideas to get the kids engaged.

Here is a display I did recently at Blue Ridge Middle for Teen Read Week.  I included YALSA'S Best Books for Teens list and pulled titles based on favorites submitted from the faculty and staff.  Apparently, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Yearling, and and the Sweet Valley High series were very popular in the 70s-80s. 

I went with the Read Like a Rock Star theme and hit Party City for some flashy decor.  Those little CDs AOL used to send in the mail a long time ago came in handy.  I TOLD my husband I would use them for something one day!  : )

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Banned Book Week

Wow!  It's been a while since I've posted- I've just been waaay too busy.  Lucky for me, one of the things keeping me busy these days is working in some middle school libraries here in Western Loudoun County.  Yeah, it's only volunteer, but the librarians are so appreciative for the help that they're willing to let me get my hands dirty. 

Here is a display I did at Blue Ridge Middle School for Banned Book Week! 

Honestly, this is one of my favorite weeks in the library world because we're celebrating our fREADom to read what we choose, not just what's available.  For more information on Banned Book Week, visit ALA's website.  It's chocked FULL of statistics, frequently challenged books, resource guides, etc.

I wasn't able to get my hands on a good see-through cage to put the pulled books in, so I DIY-ed some homemade aluminum foil chains.  At least my kids had fun helping... and the lettering was all done on my Cricut (a die-cutting machine).  Every school library should have a Cricut!

If you can't read what's on the iPod, the list is below.  It's the Top Ten Most Challenged Books list for 2010.

1.  ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Drugs, Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

2.  “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3.  “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Anti-Family, Drugs, Homosexuality, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group,

4.  “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Offensive Language, Racism, Unsuited to Age Group

5.  Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

6.  “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

7.  “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Drugs, Homosexuality, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence

8.  “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

9.  “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

10.  “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

Monday, July 26, 2010

Watchers by Dean Koontz

Just when I thought I had read everything by Dean Koontz, I discover this lil' nugget from his early writing career...and honestly, it's one of my favorites!  It probably helps that we also had an amazingly bright golden retriever that we still painfully miss.  Watchers is even popular with the a-literate crowd (those who choose not the read for pleasure) because it's a movie?  Or so I've heard, I usually prefer not to corrupt my vision of good books with movie versions.  (Twilight anyone?...)

I received Barnes & Noble's e-reader, the Nook, for library school graduation, and this was my first download.  It's your basic good vs. evil thriller with the good here being a genetically engineered golden retriever with human smarts vs. a military-issue goblin-esque killing machine, both of whom escape from a lab.  There are subplots along the way involving a cursed and lonely ex-green beret who finally finds love, an obsessive compulsive hired assassin, and a couple of can't-help-but-like law enforcers. Not to mention a young, hot heiress who could have been hiding upstairs in Flowers in the Attic.  (Read it, you'll see what I mean...)

What I enjoyed most about Watchers was Koontz's vision of the future from the 1980s.  He seemed to be on the cutting edge of technology for his time including in the novel a team of hackers akin to the X-Files Lone Gunmen.  I was still banging out "load",8 ,1 on my Commodore 64 in the 80s, and he was describing early WWW functions.  I also got a kick out of the fashion- the heiress has a collection of tube tops, and most of the men sported white pants.  Tee-hee!!

I give Watchers 5 of my favorite Keurig flavored coffees- Toffee!  Yum, delicious coffee, delectable book!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Babyproofing Your Marriage

I'm not usually one for "self-help," but I saw this in the B&N clearance for $2 and thought, 'Why not?'  What a great decision!  Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to laugh more, argue less, and communicate better as your family grows covers the gamut from mismatched libidos to battling in-laws to scorekeeping in a gritty, real, and humorous way.  If you have small children and don't see at least a small piece of yourself (and significant other) in this book...then maybe I should read YOUR book.  Without being too crass, Rich and I read this together in bed one night and just laughed and laughed because it was SO us.  I had no idea we were so...typical.

Written by three normal moms, the beauty of this book is that you don't have to read it straight through.  If you and your husband are just fine on splitting up household duties- skip that chapter!  I have to admit, my favorite part was the chapter on mismatched libidos.  Apparently, the only person here who cares that I'm packing on some pounds is ME!  I tend not to believe Rich when he claims he a.) doesn't notice, and b.) doesn't care.  I had to hear it from a dozen other husbands that the intimacy they need FAAAAR outweighs my swingin' flabby arms.  I give this gem 4 steamed milks...family appropriate.  : )

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wonder Woman: the ultimate guide to the Amazon Princess- Scott Beatty

I have to pay homage to my most frequently borrowed book at the library- Wonder Woman: the ultimate guide to the Amzon Princess by Scott Beatty.  I'm probably going on a baker's dozen at this point, and one of the clerks asked me why I just don't buy it.  I've wondered that myself actually.  I think it would ruin that split second euphoria when I run to the shelf to see if its there.  Childish, sure.  And I admit, owning it would be much handier when you need to know the alternate name for Paradise Island (it's Themiscyra).  But there's something about sitting at a library table with the book open, hoping someone chances by and wants to strike up a conversation about Wonder Woman's transformation since World War II.

My childhood hero even provided me with my Eureka! moment of the year...and it was only January 2nd!  Still, it will be hard to top.  I've decided the word "Amazon" is the new defining theme of my life.
a.)  As a woman of size, "Amazon" is my euphamism of choice
b.)  Anyone who knows me (well), knows that Wonder Woman has been my hero since I was three years old and sported Wonder Woman underoos in broad daylight, pulling my tricycle up the street by my golden lasso.  And...
c.)  I just became an official librarian, and Amazon.com is my go-to spot when I actually do purchase a book.

So there it is.  AMAZON, baby!  I need to DIY a t-shirt.  And ideas for some gold foil applique stars?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Halloween Tree- Ray Bradbury

Awesome, awesome, awesome!  I picked up this little treat right at Christmas time- don't ask.  It's Ray Bradbury!  You can't go wrong, no matter the time of year.  Isn't it crazy to think that he wrote the majority of his good stuff before most of us were even born??  Genius!
Before I get into this book, I have to mention my motivation.  Ray Bradbury comes in handy when I'm trying to help older relunctant readers find a book.  The Illustrated Man has just enough edge to keep even the "bad" kids interested.  Premise- a dude is tattooed by a WITCH (see?...I already have you), and at night his tattoos come alive and move around on  his body.  Good enough, I don't even need to go on, however, I would be doing you an injustice if I didn't mention that this tattooed man has a blank spot on his shoulder that you should NEVER gaze upon.  It won't end well for you.

So!  With that in mind, I knew The Halloween Tree was going to be a fast-paced, spooky thrill-ride, and I wasn't disappointed.  The language, rhythm, and macabre nature of the story makes me think no one other than Tim Burton should even attempt the movie.  The puerile pack of boys reminded me a little bit of a Goonies/Lost Boys mix.  And who was Mr. Moundshroud?  The Devil himself?  (I just like saying his name...Mound-shroud...open your mouth wide!)

The plot:  Halloween night, a group of middle school-aged boys go on an adventure back in time to learn all the different ways Halloween has been celebrated around the world.  It's very clever how Bradbury works in each boy's costume- one boy is a mummy and they witness ancient Egypt, another is the reaper, and they visit Druid Britain and Samhain.  It's a little dark, but there's nothing inappropriate in it.  My only caveat is that some kids won't get some of the outdated vocabulary (i.e. "he made water" means he peed).  I give this one my favorite fall drink- a great big spiced caramel cider with whipped cream.  Book and drink= delicious!